(WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEASON 6 EPISODE 1 OF MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.)How far would you go to find someone you love? How do you rebuild a once great organization from the ground up? These are two major elements at play as Season 6 of Agents of Shield begins. Keep in mind, things pick up a year after the events of Season 5.
Let’s take this piece by piece, starting with the search for Fitz. We get one bit of bad news right off the bat, the ship carry the then frozen Fitz was cut in half. That makes the search even more difficult for Daisy, Simmons and their team. They are in deep space searching, and finally catch a break. They recover the pod that Fitz was in and they get some valuable information from an alien they were shaking down. This is a very different Gemma Simmons than we are used to seeing. I knew she was tough, but now her morality isn’t exactly driving her actions anymore. She’s threatening torture, throwing herself into her work and she will even put her other friends at risk to find the man she loves. I won’t go as far as to say she’s cutthroat, it she could easily end up there.
Simmons does find a clue inside of Fitz’s cryopod, and it’s a language she recognizes. Apparently it says what planet the pod was made on. Simmons says Fitz will go there. The team doesn’t want to go even deeper into space, but Simmons knows that Fitz would go there to find a way to freeze himself again. Not thinking about how something might affect others is again very unlike Simmons. Daisy can’t even seem to get through to her, that’s how bad it is. Before they can make their decision, now their ship is under fire and we’re left to wonder how much this changes things. We do find out Simmons is right, we do see Fitz at the end of the episode. At least, it LOOKED like Fitz and it SEEMED like he was on that planet. That’s not all that isn’t as it seems.
From the perspective of the Lighthouse, we see Mack leading the team against threats on the homefront. He is still finding his way as Director, and seems to be a bit unsure of himself. Things are still pretty awkward with Yo-yo, so that doesn’t help. May is trying to raise his spirits, but Mack says they need more brains on the team. This wasn’t a slight to May, more a statement on both Fitz and Simmons being in space. So May takes action.
Enter Dr. Marcus Benson, who seems like he was a friend of May’s late husband. Mack is asking him to join the team, and to help rebuild Shield Academy. So Mack doesn’t want just a mind for the here and now, he wants a long term solution. This might seem like a small thing, but decisions like this are a prime example of why Mack was the right choice for Director. The doctor reluctantly agrees, but he will be put to work earlier than expected.
A group of dimensional breachers have come to Earth. One of them even took a shot at May’s quinjet when they went to investigate. It’s unclear what their ultimate goal is at the time, but we do know they are supposed to meet up with their leader Sarge at a specific place and time. Turns out, not everyone made it through their breach. Shield manages to capture one of them who got stuck in a wall. It’s clear that they are not exactly human, especially since the guy (who is part wall) actually gives them the typical bad guy “you can’t stop what’s coming” line before dying. They do find the info on the meet-up, so that’s where they are headed.
The team heads to the location, but the breachers have a very well thought out plan. They end up detonating a bomb that, once again, wasn’t exactly a normal bomb. Before they can recover from the explosion, a huge truck drives from the building Mad Max style. Out steps Sarge, who sure looks a lot like Phil Coulson. After he shoots a Shield agent, it’s very clear that this is not Coulson. May sees him, and you can tell she is a bit conflicted. Things end in chaos, without a lot of answers.
First thing I want to address is the lack of reference to Infinity War or Endgame. I have to say, it’s about time. I may be in the minority here, but this show is best when it’s allowed to tell it’s own story and follow it’s own path. In the past, connecting to a Marvel Studios movie has completely derailed good stories on Shield. Jed Whedon has said that the show takes place pre-snap, despite the reference to Thanos in Season 5. This was a compelling premiere that I’m not even sure the writers knew that they would be able to do. Let them roll with that, because they have two core stories here that are legitimately interesting. Suddenly dusting half of the world away does nothing to advance that in any way. So, why force it? The Black Widow movie will be a prequel, so why can’t this be pre-snap? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Enjoy this story for what it is, and don’t get caught up in absolutely everything being 100% connected. Hopefully we learn more about Sarge and his plan next week. I can’t remember the last time I was this hyped after a Shield premiere. Here’s hoping that trend continues.